RICHIE STEVENS AND BOB GLIDDEN SQUEEZE IN SOME TESTING BEFORE TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (May 25, 2005) - At first, they didn't think there would be time, but like any other determined driver/crew chief team, Richie Stevens Jr. and tuner Bob Glidden...
RICHIE STEVENS AND BOB GLIDDEN SQUEEZE IN SOME TESTING BEFORE TOPEKA
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 25, 2005) - At first, they didn't think there would be time, but like any other determined driver/crew chief team, Richie Stevens Jr. and tuner Bob Glidden are fitting in some testing in St. Louis between last weekend's race in Columbus, Ohio, and this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.).
After eight races with Don Schumacher Racing driving the Team Mopar/Valspar HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T Pro Stock teamed with Jeg Coughlin Jr., Stevens is pleased with the team's performance and is eager to get onto the quarter-mile in Topeka, where he was No. 1 qualifier in 1999.
"I think we're doing pretty good so far," said the New Orleans native. "We've had a No. 1 qualifying spot this year (Phoenix), we made a final round (Bristol), and we qualified both cars for every race. For me that's a big accomplishment. To qualify one car at every race is a big deal, but to get both of them in the field in every one has been a big, big plus."
Winning and moving to the front of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series are strong goals as well. "I feel like we are gaining ground," said Stevens, who is seventh in the point standings heading to Topeka. "We have good power, we have two good cars, and Bob is doing a great job tuning both cars. We keep making progress.
"We're testing today in St. Louis to try to get some clutch discs run in and see if we can't just get a better grip on everything. We'll also gain some data on the drag strip at Gateway Int'l Raceway, on which we'll race at in a couple of weeks. That will definitely be a positive.
"We probably could have won the race in Bristol," said Stevens, who had lane choice through each eliminations round, but fouled out in the final against Warren Johnson. "I don't think winning a race is far out of reach for either Jeg or me. If we can qualify well and go some rounds on Sunday and keep gaining points, a win will come sooner than later, I believe, between the two of us.
"We just need a have a little bit of luck, and we should be there.
"I haven't raced in Topeka since probably 2000, so I don't really know what to expect as far as conditions are concerned. Everybody tells me the track surface is really good. If I remember right, it was a pretty smooth track and it's always been a great track.
"I want to win. I'm ready. We have eight races in, this is the ninth. We definitely have all the kinks ironed out. It's time to get one now."
SCHEDULE: On Friday, May 27, professional qualifying sessions are at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, May 28, pro sessions are scheduled for noon and 3 p.m. On Sunday, May 29, final eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
TELEVISION: On Saturday, May 28, ESPN will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 8 p.m. (ET). On Sunday, May 29, ESPN2 will televise three hours of eliminations at 8 p.m. (ET). Also on Sunday, May 29, ESPN2 will televise NHRA 2Day, a 30-minute magazine show at 11:30 a.m. (ET).
RICHIE STEVENS JR. QUICK FACTS:
* Seventh in 2005 Pro Stock points after eight races, reached final round once, was No. 1 qualifier once
* Joined Don Schumacher Racing after sending in an application for 2005 season
* Cut short driving career in 2002 to run family business while dad Richie Sr. underwent open-heart surgery
* With dad Richie Stevens Sr. owns Stevens Collision Center in New Orleans
* Born and raised in New Orleans, is 26 years old
* His career-best ET and speed so far: 6.696 ET at 207.08 mph in Gainesville, Fla., 2005
* Has longtime relationship with associate sponsor Valspar
* Capped off rookie season in 1998 with a victory in his first final-round appearance (Pomona 2)
* Is youngest Pro Stock driver to win a national event, at 20-one month, in 1998
* Has four career wins in eight final rounds, two No. 1 qualifiers to his credit
* In 1999 he became the eighth member of the Speed Pro 200-mph Pro Stock Club with a 200.08 mph run in Richmond, Va.
* Competed in Roy Hill's Pro Mod car in 2004, with a semifinal finish at the U.S. Nationals his best result